Monday, October 01, 2007

Thousands of Buddhist monks and peaceful unarmed civilians slaughtered in Burma; gruesome bloody massacres continuing

Horrible pictures and videos of the ongoing slaughter of non-violent peaceful unarmed Buddhist monks and ordinary civilians in Burma by the (mis-)ruling military dictatorship supported by China.

Report from Daily Mail, UK:

Burma: Thousands dead in massacre of the monks dumped in the jungle

By MARCUS OSCARSSON - More by this author » Last updated at 15:04pm on 1st October 2007 Thousands of protesters are dead and the bodies of hundreds of executed monks have been dumped in the jungle, a former intelligence officer for Burma's ruling junta has revealed.

The most senior official to defect so far, Hla Win, said: "Many more people have been killed in recent days than you've heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand."

Mr Win, who spoke out as a Swedish diplomat predicted that the revolt has failed, said he fled when he was ordered to take part in a massacre of holy men. He has now reached the border with Thailand.

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monks burma

Slaughter: Executed monks have been dumped in the jungle

Meanwhile, the United Nations special envoy was in Burma's new capital today seeking meetings with the ruling military junta.

Ibrahim Gambari met detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon yesterday. But he has yet to meet the country's senior generals as he attempts to halt violence against monks and pro-democracy activists.

It is anticipated the meeting will happen tomorrow.

Heavily-armed troops and police flooded the streets of Rangoon during Mr Ibrahim's visit to prevent new protests.

Mr Gambari met some of the country's military leaders in Naypyidaw yesterday and has returned there for further talks. But he did not meet senior general Than Shwe or his deputy Maung Aye - and they have issued no comment.

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Tensions: People gather outside a temple after a police raid today

Reports from exiles along the frontier confirmed that hundreds of monks had simply "disappeared" as 20,000 troops swarmed around Rangoon yesterday to prevent further demonstrations by religious groups and civilians.

Word reaching dissidents hiding out on the border suggested that as well as executions, some 2,000 monks are being held in the notorious Insein Prison or in university rooms which have been turned into cells.

There were reports that many were savagely beaten at a sports ground on the outskirts of Rangoon, where they were heard crying for help.

Others who had failed to escape disguised as civilians were locked in their bloodstained temples.

There, troops abandoned religious beliefs, propped their rifles against statues of Buddha and began cooking meals on stoves set up in shrines.

In stark contrast, the streets of Rangoon and Mandalay - centres of the attempted saffron revolution last week - were virtually deserted.

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Checkpoint: Police outside the house of opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi today

Executed: The body of a Buddhist monk floats in a river

A Swedish diplomat who visited Burma during the protests said last night that in her opinion the revolution has failed.

Liselotte Agerlid, who is now in Thailand, said that the Burmese people now face possibly decades of repression. "The Burma revolt is over," she added.

"The military regime won and a new generation has been violently repressed and violently denied democracy. The people in the street were young people, monks and civilians who were not participating during the 1988 revolt.

"Now the military has cracked down the revolt, and the result may very well be that the regime will enjoy another 20 years of silence, ruling by fear."

Mrs Agerlid said Rangoon is heavily guarded by soldiers.

"There are extremely high numbers of soldiers in Rangoon's streets," she added. "Anyone can see it is absolutely impossible for any demonstration to gather, or for anyone to do anything.

"People are scared and the general assessment is that the fight is over. We were informed from one of the largest embassies in Burma that 40 monks in the Insein prison were beaten to death today and subsequently burned."

The diplomat also said that three monasteries were raided yesterday afternoon and are now totally abandoned.

At his border hideout last night, 42-year-old Mr Win said he hopes to cross into Thailand and seek asylum at the Norwegian Embassy.

The 42-year-old chief of military intelligence in Rangoon's northern region, added: "I decided to desert when I was ordered to raid two monasteries and force several hundred monks onto trucks.

"They were to be killed and their bodies dumped deep inside the jungle. I refused to participate in this."

With his teenage son, he made his escape from Rangoon, leaving behind his wife and two other sons.

He had no fears for their safety because his brother is a powerful general who, he believes, will defend the family.

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Monks protesting in Burma

Protests: But the situation inside Burma remains unclear

Mr Win's defection will raise a faint hope among tens of thousands of Burmese who have fled to villages along the Thai border.

They will feel others in the army may follow him and turn on their ageing leaders, Senior General Than Shwe and his deputy, Vice Senior General Maung Aye.

Further details from France24:
[Click on link above for the video]

Monday, October 1, 2007

PARIS, Oct. 1 -- Floating face down in a filthy pool of water, a tangled strip of saffron cloth – the distinctive garb a Buddhist monk – still clinging to his neck, the images are a gruesome reminder of the brutality of last week’s military crackdown on Burmese protesters.

The graphic video of what appears to be a dead monk was filmed Sunday in the Pazondaung area of the Burmese city of Rangoon, according to the Democratic Voice of Burma, an Oslo-based opposition group. It is not known when the monk died.

The release of the footage comes as U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari prepares to meet Burmese junta supremo Senior General Than Shwe in the new capital of Naypyidaw Tuesday. The former Nigerian foreign minister’s visit -- which included a meeting with Burma’s best-known opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi Sunday -- has sparked hopes in some circles that a diplomacy of sorts might prevail to end the current crisis.

While it is difficult to get an accurate reading about the state of dissent inside the repressive Southeast Asian nation, many Burmese dissidents in exile as well as those inside Burma are afraid the current protests will be a repeat of the 1988 anti-junta demonstrations.

At least 3,000 people were believed killed in the brutal crackdown following the 1988 demonstrations. Martial law was promptly declared and thousands of opposition leaders – including Suu Kyi – were arrested. The charismatic leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) has been under various forms of detention ever since.

In a telephone interview with FRANCE 24, a Buddhist monk in hiding in Burma, who did not want his name or location disclosed due to security fears, appealed for international help.

“The monasteries are surrounded by troops and the monks can’t go outside,” he told FRANCE 24 from his place in hiding in the jungles of Burma. “We need help from the international community.”

Indeed public dissent in the main Burmese cities of Rangoon and Mandalay seems to have ceased. The streets of Rangoon were quiet Monday, according to news reports – a far cry from last week’s public demonstrations which drew as many as 100,000 people into the streets. The Burmese government has put the official death toll from last week’s protests at 10 – including a Japanese photographer who was killed in Rangoon. But human rights groups say the actual toll is much higher.

While the web was a critical source of information about the protests last week, the junta has since blocked network access inside the country. By Friday afternoon, the country’s only two Internet providers -- MPT and Pagan Cybertech – had been taken offline.

Only the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) has been able to access images coming from Burma. In a telephone interview with FRANCE 24, the DVB site's webmaster, “Thida”, explained that their associates in Burma use their own systems to connect to the Internet. She wouldn’t say more, but technicians familiar with communications technology say it would be technically feasible to feed images over a mobile phone line by connecting the phone to a laptop computer.

Attacking a symbol of peace

One of the more shocking aspects of the crackdown was the raw display of state aggression against Buddhist monks, the very symbol of a pacifist religion in this deeply spiritual country. In a country where nearly 90 percent of the estimated 50 million-strong population is Buddhist and where most males have spent at least some time serving in a monastery, monks are a revered symbol of an unchanging Burmese identity in the face of political upheavals.

According to the Asian Human Rights Commission, more than a dozen monasteries in major Burmese cities were raided last week and at least 700 monks were detained.

“It was a very significant turnaround that the military used violence against monks,” said Win Min, a professor at Thailand’s Chiang Mai University in an interview with the AFP news wire service. “It added fuel to the fire.”

While the 1988 demonstrations were led by Burmese students, they were subsequently joined by monks, who were not spared the subsequent brutal crackdown by the military regime.

For Burma’s omnipotent State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), which has -- under various acronyms -- brutally controlled the country since 1978, the prospect of a politically mobilized Buddhist priesthood represents a threat to their power.

But from his jungle hiding place, the Buddhist monk -- who said he was one of the leaders of the recent protest during an interview with FRANCE 24 last week -- said his fellow monks were not giving up hope.

“Right now, our only way to protest is to pray,” he said. “There are different ways of protesting and prayer is one of them. But come what may, we will continue to protest. Even if they (the junta) are blocking us at the moment, we won’t stop.”


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